At 10 o’clock on Sunday mornings, Jimmy Carter can often be found teaching scripture at the Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Ga. (pop. 776). People from all over the world visit the modest brick structure in hopes of seeing the 39th president hold forth on the Good Book. Afterward, they line up on the church’s rolling lawn as Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, pose patiently for photos. For many, it’s an “only in America” moment.
The Carters moved back to Plains in 1981, after Carter found himself, as he said, “involuntarily retired.” But his life of public service was far from over. Carter has enjoyed the longest post-presidency of any U.S. president, and one of the most productive. His work through the Carter Center, the nonprofit he and Mrs. Carter began in 1982 with the aim of “waging peace, fighting disease, and building hope” throughout the world, played a large part in his 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.